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Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs

5 June 2018, 12:30


New York, 5-6 June 2018 


Meeting Summary 

 “Urban Resilience: case studies of socially-inclusive technology towards effective climate change mitigation & adaptation”


Objective of the side event 

Can science, technology, and innovation be utilized to address climate change and socioeconomic inequalities in urban resilience frameworks? This side event highlights case studies across different stakeholders, such as international organizations (e.g. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), UN Agencies (e.g. UN-Habitat), local government (e.g. Atlanta, Georgia, United States), and the private sector (e.g. Microsoft), as a means of sharing best practices and success stories, as well as to gain a better understanding of the key components for contextualizing technologies in ways that promote resilience and are democratized across the space in which they are implemented. It also a showcases an AR piece at the intersection of art, technology and innovation by the UCL artists Jessica Anderson and Sebastian Monroy. 


Organizers & Participation 

Main Organizer:​ Urban Catalyst Lab 

Co-Organizers: ​UN Major Group for Children and Youth, Microsoft, 100 Resilient Cities 

Panelists: Taylor Woodruff - Chief of Protocol, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Internal Affairs Xango Eyee - Senior Technical Account Manager, Microsoft Regine Guevara - Outreach Advisor, UN-Habitat Jason Whittet - Associate Director - Solutions Development and Innovation, 100 Resilient Cities, Rockefeller Foundation Liana Ghukasyan - Senior Humanitarian Delegate and Charge d’Affaires, IFRC Jessica Anderson & Sebastian Monroy - Artist Intervention - Interactive AR Demo, Urban Catalyst Lab 


Major issues discussed in the session 

  • Partnerships between local governments and global partners (e.g. City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs worked with Cape Town) foster learning from best practices and launching new programs to engage both the public and private sector in reducing carbon footprints through various initiatives and technologies, bringing quality change to communities
  • Microsoft highlighted the importance of accessibility of available technology to build the infrastructure for change and transformation of cities around the world, fostering innovation and the localization and optimization of services 
  • Lack of data integration and an integrated platform for data usage and availability has led to the creation of CoLab by 100 Resilient Cities -- this initiative will launch in 2019 and aims at being a platform for urban data 
  • Outreach to engage youth to engage local communities and incentivise local awareness, regular capacity building, and entrepreneurship opportunities
  • An interactive art installation engaged the audience, provoking contemplation on issues around climate change mitigation such as the inextricable impact of human presence on an ecosystem and ruminations on what is positive and negative impact. The piece provided a visual representation of how slow impact over a period time may not be obvious without thoughtful consideration, and reflected the desire to see a human imprint on the environment while suggesting that the assumed dichotomous relationship between humans and nature is false. 

Main outcome 

This side event was successful in fostering a discussion around concrete examples of effective STI applications for climate change mitigation. The topic of accessibility and the impact that STI can have when implemented in a way that promotes social inclusion was central to many of the presentations. The case studies highlighted best practices at both the local and global level to engage communities and promote urban resilience. The issue of data usage and ownership was a point of discussion, particularly the lack of data integration and available platforms. It was beneficial to see 100 Resilient Cities’ CoLab initiative addressing this space. The topic of governance around technology and innovation was also raised. Lastly, the interactive art demo illustrated the role of art in aiding knowledge dissemination, especially around complex issues such as STI and climate change. The result is an increased number of climate change mitigation and adaptation advocates and action takers. 


Key recommendations for action 

  • Build solutions that are visionary, not reactionary. 
  • Involve young urban planners, especially those at the university level. 
  • Use innovation to drive programs: the business of doing it differently. 
  • Public space for interaction is easily done, but mostly overlooked. Capitalize on this space. 
  • Integrate art in the STI solutions to broaden your outreach pool.

Watch the video 


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